Farro Fescu is the proud and observant concierge of Echo Terrace, a condominium in New York City. Passing through his lobby at all hours is an exotic cross-section of the world's population: an Egyptian-born plastic surgeon who specializes in gender reassignment, a fighter pilot who flew for Nazi Germany during World War II, an Iraqi spice merchant and the world-famous quilter with whom he's having an affair, the adulterer's son who dreams of becoming an undertaker, and the widow whose apartment is a jungle Eden filled with a menagerie of specimens. Farro Fescu knows them all, knows all their secrets. Yet he does not know what is in his own heart -- why, after a long, hard life, he is still alive, and still alone. Nor does he know what he will be capable of in the face of sudden, overwhelming tragedy.